Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TSA's Special Counselor Guest Blogs at Disability.Gov: Screening for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities

TSA's Special Counselor, Kimberly Walton guest blogged today for Disability.gov. Here is an excerpt from her post:

As our Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) continues to roll out across the country, more and more people with disabilities have questions and concerns about how they’ll be screened at our checkpoints - especially those with mobility disabilities... Please read the rest at Disability.gov.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

33 comments:

Reebcca said...

What I am understanding from these statements is that people with disabilities will be singled out for extraordinary treatment, which is in direct violation of the ADA.

Despite the statements regarding an individual's rights - i.e. that they have the right to undergo alternative screenings - there have been so many reports of TSA personnel violating established protocols that these reassurances ring distinctly hollow. What will prevent further incidents such as the mute wheel-chair bound child subjected to an aggressive pat-down? The man with the broken ostomy seal? Do I need to go on?

MarkVII said...

For "communication" to work, the TSA's personnel have to be willing to listen. One of the common threads in so many of the horror stories involving passengers with various challenges is that the screener's didn't listen to the passenger.

The gentleman with the usortomy is a recent example.

My own experience in "routine" screening is that the screeners don't listen, though they do an awful lot of yelling.

Has the TSA considered some training in simple listening skills?

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

FTFA: "First of all, anyone who can stand without a mobility aid, cane, crutches, walker, etc., for 5-7 seconds with their arms raised above shoulder level is eligible for AIT screening."

It can take some elderly and infirm people more than "5-7 seconds" to shuffle into the scanner-machine to begin with.

People who can walk with a mobility device and those with service animals can undergo Walk Through Metal Detector (WTMD) screening,

Um, taking a 'mobility aid' (defined as "cane, crutches, walker, etc") through the Metal detector will sure as shoot set it off, unless said aid is completely non-metallic.

Nobody, however, should ever try to persuade you to walk through the metal detector or the AIT machine if you indicate this is something you can’t or do not wish to do.

But y'all do that to 'regular' folks all the time. I guess you're afraid of a lawsuit of you do it to the elderly/disabled.

You can choose to go to the front of the screening line and use any screening lane you choose. You don’t have to use the screening lane designated for people with disabilities or wheelchairs.

...then what's the point of having a lane for the disabled?

Passengers with disabilities can contact one of our Customer Support Managers to coordinate their screening. This way, they can have a chance to speak with an expert and explain the best possible way to be screened prior to arriving at the airport.

So, the disabled passenger tells you how to screen them??? Ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

We already know exactly how the TSA treats disabled passengers

Just like they were terrorists.

Anonymous said...

1) What sort of medical training will TSOs have?
2) Will any medical professionals, such as a licensed nurse, be on station at checkpoints, or at least readily available?
3) What sort of accommodation will be made for people who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or otherwise unable to pass through the AIT machine because of inability to comply with instructions?

Anonymous said...

I am diabetic and legally blind. The officers at the checkpoint simply don´t understand that a person can both use a white cane and have an insulin pump. You know nothing about screening passengers with disabilities.

Gunner said...

This is hilarious.
Your esteemed special counselor’s blog piece contains a reference and link to a notification template that is available for organizations and their constituents to print out and bring with them to the airport.

If you follow that link it takes you to the very slow loading, graphics intensive disability.gov web site that has a one paragraph item about the card and notes that “this link opens a PDF document” Of course, there are three links: the headline/title, a link to TSA, and a newsfeed link and it does not tell you which link is this link. Human nature would take you to the link that follows, but that is not the correct link.

If you click on the headline/title, the page that opens is not a PDF, but rather a slow-loading, graphics intensive page, containing a paragraph telling you that you are going to a non-federal website. It contains a link that you must click.

That link takes you to a PDF, that is hosted on the mda.org website, as it is apparently beyond the capabilities of either the TSA or disability.gov to just host the form. After waiting several minutes, the PDF appears.

As you would expect from anything the TSA touches, the PDF is write-protected, so that you cannot fill out the part of the form where you list your health condition or disability. Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Is there anything you touch that you cannot mess up?

Ross Williams said...

[[Despite the statements regarding an individual's rights - i.e. that they have the right to undergo alternative screenings ...]]

It's a sad and pathetic reflection on our "consent of the governed" nation that our "rights" are reduced to choosing the specific manner of how our rights shall be violated.


[[Just like they were terrorists.]]

Miranda for the Paranoia Age:
You have the right to be treated like a terrorist. Anything you carry is subject to confiscation at any point. You have the right to choose how you shall be subjected to officious indignity and degradation; if you choose not to choose among the methods presented, you can and will be subject to financial penalty.


"Abandon rights all ye who enter here"
- Dante

Anonymous said...

"anyone who can stand without a mobility aid, cane, crutches, walker, etc., for 5-7 seconds with their arms raised above shoulder level is eligible for AIT screening."

These poor people are simply trying to board a plane, not auditioning for Ninja Warrior.

Anonymous said...

"Passengers with disabilities can contact one of our Customer Support Managers to coordinate their screening."

This link takes you to a website that allows you to leave a complaint or compliment. This doesn't look like a place to ask questions, and it doesn't seem like a traveller is going to get a quick reply. Or any reply at all.

So let me ask a specific question. An elderly relative has mobility issues and cannot use a screening machine. The same relative also has severe chronic pain issues; touching this relative on the back, even with a "light" touch, can cause great pain. In addition, the individual uses a TENS unit worn beneath the clothing to manage the pain. How would TSA handle screening this individual? How could the individual guarantee that any special screening policies would be followed? Would my relative be given specific contacts within the TSA management structure for the specific airport, in the event that the TSA screeners haven't been properly briefed on screening for the disabled passenger?

Anonymous said...

"We already know exactly how the TSA treats disabled passengers

Just like they were terrorists."


Worse, the guards perceive a weakness. Watching them reminds me of studies with chimps about cruelty. They howl, form a group around the victim and start collective taunts.

Civilization dies at the airport.

Mark said...

You address how those with Physical Disabilities will be handled. What are the procedures for dealing with Mental Disabilities such as mental developmental disabilities, PTSD (especially from sexual trauma), autism, schizophrenia, severe bipolar, or personality disorders? What training have the TSA officers received in dealing with individuals who could become agitated when touched? What training have the TSA officers received on how to deal with Mental Disabilities?

Anonymous said...

You treat passengers with disabilities the same way you treat everyone else: like common criminals.

Anonymous said...

Today I felt violated, my daughter was traumatized because I didn't pass the walk thru 2x. So of course comes the Pat down they kept asking do you have any metals on you. No not on me, she couldn't find anything on me and probably would have had me go undress next then I asked I have Artifical Knee would the metal in set off your alarm? The answer was yes they said well you should have told us. How did I know it would set off your alarm never had no issues before now. Perhaps they should say instead do you have any metal on you do you have any artifical joints maybe so many people won't go through the embarassing uncalled searches.

kimm said...

Since I refuse to travel by air untill we can ALL travel with dignity instead of being accused of being potential terrorists just because we want to fly, being a patialy disabled person, this all gives me little to no comfort.

TSA and Napolitano should be ashamed as to how ALL passengers are treated, disabled or not. Congrats. As said in other threads by others, you have given the terrorists an upper hand.

Those of you who say we need this so we are safe in the air seem to forget we all have a better chance of getting hit by a car crossing the street in front of our own house than being taken out by a terrorist. And I refuse to live in paranoia as TSA and our esteemed government seems to want us to.

Treat us like human beings at the airports again instead of guilty untill proven innocent criminals, and I may consider flying again. I don't not fly because of terrorists. I don't fly because of our own government and TSA.

Anonymous said...

I am traveling tomorrow with my child with a facial prosthetic. I heard that the TSA can make the passenger remove the FACIAL prosthetic. Is this true. There is no metal. It is all vinyl. Does a woman with breast prosthetics have to remove her breasts! I heard she may be ask to!!!! Now, my teenage child is so tranquilized she refuses to fly!!! Help.

Anonymous said...

Today I felt violated, my daughter was traumatized because I didn't pass the walk thru 2x. So of course comes the Pat down they kept asking do you have any metals on you. No not on me, she couldn't find anything on me and probably would have had me go undress next then I asked I have Artifical Knee would the metal in set off your alarm? The answer was yes they said well you should have told us. How did I know it would set off your alarm never had no issues before now. Perhaps they should say instead do you have any metal on you do you have any artifical joints maybe so many people won't go through the embarassing uncalled searches.
___________________________________
Well you would still go through the "uncalled search". I guess the person asking you if you had any metal on you thought that common sense would say a METAL knee would set off a METAL detector and that you would know to say something.

Anonymous said...

I am traveling tomorrow with my child with a facial prosthetic. I heard that the TSA can make the passenger remove the FACIAL prosthetic. Is this true. There is no metal. It is all vinyl. Does a woman with breast prosthetics have to remove her breasts! I heard she may be ask to!!!! Now, my teenage child is so tranquilized she refuses to fly!!! Help.
___________________________________
No prosthetic ever has to be removed. Even if there is metal in it, it still does not have to be removed. Instead of posting your questions on a page where you are going to hear nothing but negative feedback, why don't you call your local airport and get ahold of a TSA rep that can help you with the situation.

Anonymous said...

I asked before on the "off topic" post, which you've made clear you ignore.

You need to make clear for what disabilities and conditions you require us to carry the cards referred to in the link.

For example, if I have cancer and don't present the appropriate credentials to the TSO screening me, will I be arrested or otherwise punished?

What about HIV? Diabetes? Cancer?

Ed Thomas said...

Suggestion: As a passenger that will fail the metal dector every time because of a knee replacement, I suggest that we be allowed to skip the metal dector line and go directly to the aggressive pat-down booth. It's irritating to know that while you're standing in a long line waiting to go through the metal dector that you will be singled out to now wait for someone to pat you down.

Anonymous said...

"No prosthetic ever has to be removed. Even if there is metal in it, it still does not have to be removed. Instead of posting your questions on a page where you are going to hear nothing but negative feedback, why don't you call your local airport and get ahold of a TSA rep that can help you with the situation."

Yet prosthetics are required to be removed every day.

Why doesn't the poster call the local airport? How about:
1. Air travel typically involves more than one airport. Frequently more. Should the poster call each one in which he/she needs to endure the TSA?

2. We are told over and over again that the TSA has policies that the "highly trained" workforce enforces. Why should he/she have to call the airport?

3. This blog is becoming increasingly useless. Why doesn't the blog staff respond to the citizens?

RB said...

3. This blog is becoming increasingly useless. Why doesn't the blog staff respond to the citizens?

January 3, 2011 11:26 AM

.............
The blog staff doesn't respond because it is much easier to put their fingers in their ears and close their eyes while making sounds that block out the roar of the publics questions.

TSA doesn't answer because they have no acceptable answers.

SSSS for some reason said...

"...2. We are told over and over again that the TSA has policies that the "highly trained" workforce enforces. Why should he/she have to call the airport?"

Agreed! If the TSA has policies in place why are we, the traveling public, being asked to call ahead to confirm anything? Isn't it already in the policies?

And why do my hearing aids, which way a fraction of an ounce each, alarm the Metal Detectors in Fort Lauderdale, but not in Albany. And why do the TSA Officers in Fort Lauderdale tell me *not* to remove them then yell at me for not removing them when I set of the metal detector?

Oh, right, variability in the process to keep the terrorists on their toes.

Jim Huggins said...

Care to respond to the news report about the passenger in San Antonio who was forced to go through a metal detector despite her pacemaker?

Jim Huggins said...

No, I guess no-one wants to respond to that report after all. So much for TSA's vaunted commitment to serving people with disabilities ...

mbattery said...

As a disabled person, I am truly disgusted and disheartened by some of the events and situations disabled individuals have endured. Boarding an airplane should not be a humiliating event. In my experiences, other countries do not have all the problems this country has. They all have security measures. What they don't have is inept employees who don't know how to treat people with dignity. (not all employees) Let's start with who does the hiring. Perhaps if those doing the hiring were better trained at seeking out a more empathetic type, training could begin at a higher level. One can't teach sensitivity.

mbattery said...

BTW Bob, I have been disabled since 1997. Just so you don't think I "suddenly became" disabled simply to comment on this subject. That is why I have the time to comment as I do. I know as the moderator you can be a little suspicious at times.

Anonymous said...

What about passengers with mental disabilities? There are many kids with autism that can be really traumatized by some the the new procedures.

Anonymous said...

As someone with a medical condition, I need an answer to my question, please...
When I go into a scanner, is the TSO allowed to touch me--without asking first--to reposition my body as he/she wants? I ask because in early January, flying out of DTW, I informed the TSO that due to a medical condition, it would take me a little time to raise my arms into position. I was doing so, as quickly as I could without pain (I'm talking a few extra seconds here, not minutes, by the way). Instead of waiting, the TSO grabbed my arms and lifted them up, quickly, and then proceeded to position my fingers as she wanted also. (This was, by the way, well above the "shoulder level" that FTFA mentions). This hurt like hell, frankly--I have pinched nerves in my back. I yelped. She smiled--yes, smiled--backed out of the machine, and when the scan was complete said, "There, sweetie, that was quick." On top of hurting me--she caused spasms that continued for quite a while afterward-- and touching me with unchanged gloves (I had no chance to ask that they be changed), she was incredibly rude. "Sweetie?" I'm neither senile nor 5 years old. I'm a highly educated professional middle-aged woman--and I consider her behavior and words very offensive. Why aren't TSOs trained to use "Sir" and "Ma'am" just as real LEOs do?

QUESTION: Is her grabbing and positioning the arms of someone with a medical condition who is complying with her orders, albeit a trifle slowly, valid ground for a complaint by me, or it part of standard operating procedures? If so, I'll have to opt-out next time though I really, really don't want to.
Please answer.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... As someone with a medical condition, I need an answer to my question, please...

--------------------

No, this is not the norm. I have sent DTW your comment. Please use the Talk to TSA tool to provide the Customer Support Manager with more information about your experience.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

David and Arlene said...

anyone know about a position with TSA to "audit" the inspection process for those who use wheelchairs? a tsa agent suggested we apply.

Peter said...

while I think it is important for TSA to continue its work, it's also important to manage chaos that often come as a result of disabilities or other stress kinds of disorders like PTSD. We must be able to handle this is a society. While the ongoing work is important, we need to be pro active and find solutions to problems that may arise when we have disabled people enter the aircrafts. TSA needs to continue its fine work but make special amends to disadvantaged people. Here is an article that you may find interesting relating to stress. PTSD

Paul said...

I agree with the general idea espoused by many on here that a bit more openness and willingness to listen is essential. Rules and procedures need to be followed of course, however there needs to be cope for human judgment depending on the circumstances.